WP1. Project Management

Mogens Nicolaisen, AU

Lead of WP1


  • Manage the overall progress of the project and ensure objectives are fulfilled within budget and on time

WP2.  Communication

Mette Vestergård, AU

Lead of WP2


  • Establish effective communication between researchers, stakeholders and society.

WP3.  High-throughput barley field trials

Miguel Sanchez-Garzia, ICARDA

Lead of WP3


  • Provide inputs in the form of samples and crop performance data to use in WP4-6 for the establishment of correlations between the barley genome, its associated root microbiome and barley stress responses. Field barley characterization will be based on advanced molecular, environmental and phenotyping platforms.

WP4.  Barley genomics

Christopher Barnes, UCPH

Lead of WP4


  • The aim is to characterize the genetic diversity of barley from a subset of the 600 varieties with differing evolutionary and ecological backgrounds, identifying informative regions (SNPs) that discriminate between them. 

  • Perform whole genome sequencing of 50 established barley varieties that will be identified from the tools from the Agriculture and Horticultural Development Board (UK) and an exhaustive review of the scientific literature.

  • These will represent the full genetic and ecological diversity of barley, and they will undergo whole genome sequencing and will be aligned against the reference genome. As the majority of the genome will be conserved between variants, genomic data will be simplified by identifying variable (and therefore informative) regions of the genome.

WP5.  Microbiome profiling of barley varieties in field trials

Mogens Nicolaisen, AU

Lead of WP5


  • The aim is to process samples obtained in WP3 to generate the datasets of multi-taxon biodiversity associated with the different varieties of barley roots that will be used in WP6.

  • Taxonomic composition, inferred from genomic data, will be treated as a phenotype for each barley variety, and genome-wide association studies linking plant genes to root associated traits in WP6.

WP6.  Hologenomics approach

Christopher Barnes, UCPH

Lead of WP6


  • Consistent genetic variation associated with desirable plant/ root phenotypes (WP3) and microbiome composition (WP4) will later be identified across variants in WP6.

  • To identify the barley genetic variation and microbes associated with desirable root traits

  • To create a complete synthesis of the key genes and microbial associations associated with drought resilience and desirable root traits. We will link variation in the barley genome (WP4) and microbiome (WP5) to barley phenotypic variation (WP3)

WP7.  Targeted mutagenesis

Henrik Brinch-Pedersen, AU

Lead of WP7


  • To produce gene-editied mutants of selected barley varieties that will be used to identify causal relationships between specific barley genes, root microbiomes and phenotypic plasticity to drought stress in WP8-10.

WP8.  Functional Root Phenotyping under stress

Katarzyna Retzer, BOKU

Lead of WP8


  • Assessing the relative importance of root traits for plant performance in general and specifically yield requires quantification of a comprehensive range of functionally relevant traits.

WP9.  Metabolomics of microbiome recruitment

Sylwia Kierszniowska, MetaSysX 

Lead of WP9


  • Metabolite profiling of barley parental and mutant lines grown under different drought conditions in WP8 and WP10. 

WP10.  Barley genetic microbiome regulation

Mette Vestergård, AU

Lead of WP10


  • To identify causal relationships between barley genomic components and the recruitment of specific root microbiomes and vice versa to elucidate the impact of variation of the root microbiome on barley phenotypic root traits and drought resilience.

  • To validate functional genes in the root microbiome that associate with enhanced barley drought resilience.

WP11.  Breeding strategies

Miguel Sanchez-Garzia, ICARDA

Lead of WP11


  • Develop strategies to create adaptive barley varieties with improved root systems.

  • To bring new alleles and traits that are not currently available into commercial germplasm.

  • To validate the performance and phenotypic effects of the introgressed alleles.

  • To generate novel barley breeding strategies for microbiome-assisted drought tolerance